Let's twist again: elasto-capillary assembly of parallel ribbons

A.B.H. Legrain, Johan W. Berenschot, Leon Abelmann, José Bico, Niels Roelof Tas

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We show the self-assembly through twisting and bending of side by side ribbons under the action of capillary forces. Micro-ribbons made of silicon nitride are batch assembled at the wafer scale. We study their assembly as a function of their dimensions and separating distance. Model experiments are carried out at the macroscopic scale where the tension in ribbons can easily be tuned. The process is modeled considering the competition between capillary, elastic and tension forces. Theory shows a good agreement for macroscale assemblies, while the accuracy is within 30% at the micrometer scale. This simple self-assembly technique yields highly symmetric and controllable structures which could be used for batch fabrication of functional 3D micro-structures.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)7186-7194
Number of pages9
JournalSoft matter
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • METIS-320594
  • IR-103144
  • EWI-27587

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